Lhasa to Kathmandu – Riding the Roof of the World



  • 1,011km / 631 miles – 95% On Road
  • A rugged road or cyclocross bike adventure
  • Spectacular views of Mount Everest’s North Side
  • 26 days / 25 nights
  • Tackle four 5,000m Passes
  • The ultimate high altitude training ride

Number of Days: 26
2019 Land Only Price From: £3,595
Grade: Spicy
Group Size: 6 -14 
View: Kit List


Please call us on 01768 778848 for our trip dates in 2019

Dates are available for Private Groups by arrangement – contact us for details

Trip Overview

Day 1 Arrival in Kathmandu

Arrive in Kathmandu and transfer to the 3* group Hotel.  Due to different arrival times we meet up as a complete group for the first time in the evening and have a meal together in the Hotel.

Overnight in Kathmandu in a 3* Hotel.  Meal/s Included: D

Day 2 Cycle to Nagarkot

These additional days in Kathmandu allow our local agent to prepare our visa’s for Tibet.  We put the bikes together in the Hotel Courtyard  and discuss the journey that lays ahead of us all.  Once everyone is ready we leave the hussle and bussle of Kathmandu and cycle about 14 km to the village of Bhaktapur.  This ancient Newa Village is situated in the Eastern Corner of Kathmandu and its temples and courtyards mirror the magnificent mountains.  After lunch we set off on the climb up to the hill station village of Nagarkot (1900m) luckily any exertion on the climbs is compensated by the fabulous views. 

38km / 24 miles. Overnight in Nagarkot in a 2/3* Hotel.  Meals Included:B,L &D

Day 3 Cycle to Namo Buddha

Those that are up early will catch the sunrise over the Himalayas possibly with a first glimpse of Everest before breakfast.  Today we cycle to Namo Budha (1750m) mostly on unsealed jeep tracks through small villages giving us a glimpse of life in the foothills of Kathmandu.  Total distance of 40km

40km / 25 miles. Overnight in Namo Budha in a 2/3* Hotel.  Meals included B,L & D

Day 4 Rollin back to Kathmandu

Today we cycle back to Kathmandu from Namo Budha.  One we reach Kathmandu we repack our bikes and kit reday for departure to Tibet tomorrow

55km / 34 miles. Overnight in Kathmandu in a 3* Hotel.  Meals Included:B, L & D

Day 5 Flight Spectacular to Tibet

Today is an early start as we take the morning flight to Tibet.  This has to be one of the World’s most spectacular flights and, if conditions allow, we should get an incredible view of Mount Everest.  From Gongkar airport we transfer to the group Hotel in Lhasa (3,660m) and, most importantly, spend the afternoon relaxing as we get used to the altitude.

Overnight in Lhasa in a 3* Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 6 Sightseeing in Lhasa

Acclimatisation is the key to a successful rdie back to Kathmandu.  We spend the next couple of days allowing our bodies to adjust as we explore this fascinating city.  In the morning we walk to the Jokhang Temple and join the line of Tibetan pilgrims attending to their daily rituals.  There is additional time available to explore the pilgrims circuit in a clockwise direction around the temple, known as the Barkhor, which is lined with stalls of local merchandise.  In the afternoon we go to the spectacular Potala Palace which presides over the city of Lhasa.

Overnight in Lhasa in a 3* Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 7 Ride to Sera Monastery

Today we have the option of riding to Sera Monastery which is on the Northern outskirts of the city.  This monastery is one of the three great Gelukpa monasteries.  Debates amongst monks on the Buddhist Doctrines are integral to the learning process here and this debating system is exclusive to the monastery.  It is fascinating to watch the monk’s gestures as they try to illustrate their points.  We cycle back to the Hotel and the afternoon is spent relaxing and preparing for the adventure ahead.

Overnight in Lhasa in a 3* Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 8 Bike to the Bottom of the Khamba La

Finally our first full day of riding!  After any last minute preparations we set off along the smooth tarmac out of the city and towards the base of the Khamba La pass.  Today is mostly flat allowing you to spin out those legs and get dialed in for the days to come.  En-route we take the opportunity to visit the Drepung Monastery.  The crew will have set up the camp ready for our arrival at the foot of the pass.

85km / 53 miles. Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 9 Oh La La – The Khamba La

Oh la la, is the prevalent thought this morning as we have breakfast under the towering Khamba La pass.  Today’s challenge is the first of our major climbs and it’s not to be underestimated.  The 25km of ascent should be taken at a very relaxed pace as we allow our bodies to adapt to the increasingly less dense air, and the dizzy height of 4,794m. From here we can see the sparkling blue of Yamdrok Lake then we descend to the base of the pass for lunch and onto the village of Ngartse.

75km / 47 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 10 Tail Winds Welcome

An energy filled breakfast is on the menu this morning as we prepare to climb our first 5,000m pass, the Karo La (5,050m).  We continue on the undulating road mostly downhill for a well deserved lunch.  We set up camp at the base of the Simi La and prepare for tomorrows climb.  

69kms / 43 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our camp.  Meals Included:B, L & D

Day 11 A mere 4,330m pass day
This morning we wait for the sun to rise, enjoy a warming breakfast then get ready to ride.  Today we are crossing a ‘smaller’ pass, the Sima La (4,330m).  Afterwhich it is mostly downhill to the village of Gyantse (4,055m). Today is  fairly short day and we spend the afternoon visiting the Kumbum Monastery.

36kms / 22 miles.  Overnight in a Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 12 Flat Plateau

Today we ride Westwards to the city of Shigatse, which is Tibet’s second largest city and sits at an altitude of 3,950m. With a flat spin and no hills to speak of ahead we should reach our destination in about 4-5 hours.  In the afternoon there is time to explore the Tashilhunpo Monastery.

95km / 60 miles.  Overnight in a Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 13 A rest day
It is a rare thing to have a rest day on a Rather Be Trip but we break the trip in two here.  It gives the riders the chance to catch up on washing and general admin also a chance to explore the local market at you leisure.  Make the most of it as we are getting closer to the Big E.

Day 14 Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

Leaving the city we ride along roads that witness the dry, stark yet beautiful Tibetan Landscape.  The road gradually climbs throughout the day until we reach the camp which is at the base of the Tsho La.   We rest up at our camp (4290m), ready for the next challenge.

106km / 66 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 15 Fit and Acclimitised

By now, we’ve plenty of miles in our legs and we should be well acclimatised to the altitude so the climb of the Tsho La (4,500m) should feel surprisingly easy.  Gliding down the descent we head onto the town of Lhatse and after our lunch stop we start the climb up to our camp at the base of the Gyamtsho-La.

80km / 50 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 16 New Heights

The Gyamtsho-La (5,248m) is the highest pass on our journey along the Friendship Highway and a steady effort is required over it’s 13km of climbing.  We are rewarded with spectacular views of the Himalayas including Everest, Lhotse and Cho Oyu.  We wrap up warm for the descent which leads us onto our camp beneath the Pang La Pass at Chay Village.

75km / 47 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 17 A glimpse of Everest

The Pang La (5,150m) has recently been graded but is still rough under wheel. It is about 18km to the top of the pass and this small section which would only be rideable on a low geared Cyclo Cross bike / mtb with slicks.  At the top of the pass you may get your first glimpse of the North Side of Everest and hopefully enjoy an uninterrupted view of the Himalayan chain from the pass.  The descent is on a rough dirt road and we all regroup at the village of Tashi Dzong where we take lunch.  

After lunch we cycle the additional 45km to Rongbuk.  En-route Everest becomes more impressive at each turn until we reach our camp at 5000m.  It’s a long but rewarding day.

82km / xx miles Ride Distance.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 18 Feet Up

Today we plan to mostly put our feet up and absorb the magnificence of Everest and the culture surrounding the Rongbuk Monastery.  There is the option of a short ride up to Everest Base Camp, 8km each way, if you, and your bike, can tackle rough roads and the altitude.

16km / 10 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 19 Hot Springs at Tingri

We retrace our steps in the jeeps back over the Pang La and back onto some much desired tarmac near to the town of Shegar.  From here we’re all back on the bikes and we ride the final section into Tingri (4,380m) a total ride time of about 2 hours.  In the afternoon you have the option of luxuriating in the hot springs in the village and letting those aching limbs recover whilst looking at distant views of Everest and Cho Oyu – does it get better than that?

45km /  27miles. Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 20 Windy Out East

Leaving camp refreshed today we have a relatively short spin to the camp at the base of the Lalung La.  Headwinds are prevalent in this region so we tend to run a low speed chaingang taking it in turns to battle the winds and give everyone a rest, in turn, in the slipstream.  Depending on the group’s decision we may opt for a late lunch when we reach the camp or break the day into two halves and savour the spectacular scenery.

55km / 35 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 21 Double Whammy

With blood as thick as a yak’s we tackle head-on our second two pass day.  Our first objective is 9km from camp – the Lalung La (5,020m).  From this point we lose precious height and then climb again up to the Thang La (5,130m).  This is the last pass we will cross in Tibet and we start the 4,500m or thereabouts of downhill!  We camp just outside of the village of Nyalam.

87km / 54 miles.  Overnight under canvas in our Camp.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 22 Going Down, Down, Down

Today we leave the vast Tibetan Plateau behind us and drop down to the warmer climes of Nepal.  As we lose altitude all the hard work of the last couple of weeks winds out of our legs but our arms and hands are left pumped with all the braking as we descend.  We drop down to Zangmu after numerous switchbacks and through a deep gorge and through the first Chinese border point.  Continuing on through Kodari and over the Friendship Bridge and into Nepal. The altitude at our camp at Borderlands is only 900m and we relish the dense oxygenated air and celebrate with dinner and a beer or two!

65km / 40 miles.  Overnight in a Lodge.  Meal/s Included: B, L & D

Day 23 What Goes Back Up, Must Come Down Again

We still have over 1,400m of climbing to do to get back up onto the rim of the Kathmandu Valley.  We start off with a gentle descent which then soon turns into a climb (17km) up to the town of Dhulikel.  What goes up must come down and after lunch we glide back downhill and into the hustle and bustle of Kathmandu and the haven of our Hotel.  We repack the bikes for the return journey home and head out to celebrate our epic achievement.

95km / 60 miles.  Overnight in a 3* Hotel.  Meal/s Included: B & L

Day 24 Departure Day

Our trip has come to an end and you have the day free to look around the city until you make the transfer to Kathmandu Airport for your return flights.

Meal/s Included: B

What’s Included

■ 21 nights accommodation* as detailed in the trip overview.
■ All meals as detailed in the trip overview.  Meal Key: B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner.
■ Kathmandu Airport transfers to / from group hotel on arrival & departure days only.
■ Kathmandu to Lhasa internal flights.
■ Airport transfer in Lhasa.
■All baggage transfers in our baggage vehicle/s.
■ The services of a Nepali Biking Guide.
■ The services of a, UK qualified, Rather Be Cycling Trip Leader – ALL GROUP SIZES.
■ The services of a baggage vehicle driver / assistant / crew.
■ Access to commonly required tools and mechanical advice & assistance.**
■ All guided sightseeing tours as per itinerary. We use a 3 star hotel when staying in Kathmandu (3 nights).  When cycling we use a mix of full service camping and Hotel/Lodge/Teahouse accommodation.  All accommodation is allocated and priced on a twin occupancy basis. Please contact us for Single Occupancy Rates.

* All accommodation is allocated and priced on a twin occupancy basis. Please contact us for Single Occupancy Rates.

** Please note that whilst we are prepared for the most likely mechanical issues we cannot carry spare parts / tools to deal with all eventualities. Please ensure your bike is fit for purpose before your trip – we are happy to advise you.

What’s Not Included

■ International and / or Domestic Flight/s to and from the start (joining) point and end (departure) points of the trip.
■ Any excess baggage charges relating to outbound and / or return flights.
■ Any excess baggage charges on the flight from Kathmandu to Lhasa.
■ Nepal Visa/s as required.
■ Tibet Visa/s (UK Citizens 120$ / USA – $205)  – NB:We arrange this for you but it is an additional Trip Cost
■ Travel Insurance – compulsory.
■ All drinks e.g. bottled water, coffees, teas, alcohol, etc.
■ Spare / replacement bicycle parts & accessories e.g. tyres, tubes, wheels, etc.
■ Other expenses e.g. souvenirs, additional food, etc.
■ Tips – at your discretion but encouraged for the local guide and crew.
■ Certain meals on certain days – please refer to trip overview.
■ Your spending money.

Bike Spec

■ This is a trip which is ideally suited to either a Cyclo Cross Bike fitted with suitable on-road touring tyres or a Road / Touring Bike that can take a 700x28c tyre. A Mountain Bike can also be used, running on slick mtb tyres.

■ The governing factor is the width of tyres that your frame will accept. It needs to accept a robust 700x28c tyre – such as Swalbe’s Marathon – which provides a good air pocket and strong sidewalls & tread which is suitable for the road conditions we encounter on this trip, and it still rolls well.

■ Whilst 95% of this trip is on tarred road – and we transfer the section that isn’t – the nature of the terrain is such that sections of the road can be affected by landslides, etc. Hence the need for robust tyres.

■ Compact or triple gearing giving a bottom gear of between 30″ and 40″ is suggested for this trip.

■ Your bike should be fully serviced, and thoroughly tested, before your holiday.